From Emblem to Epic: Mycenaean Art and Mycenaean Society

W.H. Allen Memorial Lecture, Wednesday, 13 September, 2017; reception 4:30, lecture 5:15
Venue: Kaye Scott Room, Ormond College, 49 College Crescent, Parkville

Professor Emeritus James C. Wright, AAIA Visiting Professor, Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens

This is a lecture for general audiences that examines how an artistic style emerged that exemplified the Mycenaean civilization in Greece during the Late Bronze Age.  I explain how individuals use luxuries and other high status items to promote their social and political position so as to consolidate of power over their communities and in relation to competing leaders elsewhere within the Greece.  I will explain how they created both a local art and blended with the art of the palaces of Crete to institute a visual program within the palaces they constructed at their capitals on the mainland of Greece.  The lecture closes with a consideration of the impact of this visual program after the fall of the palaces and the transition to the Iron Age that ultimately led to the epics of Homer and the rise of the Greek city states.

James C. Wright is the Director, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece, as well as holding the William R. Kenan Jr. Chair at the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College Pennsylvania U.S.A.  He holds his degrees from Bryn Mawr (Ph.D. and M.A.) and Haverford College (B.A.).  His research interests are the pre- and proto-historic Aegean, Greek architecture and urbanism, land use and settlement, archaeological method and theory and cultural geography.  Professor Wright has conducted archaeological research in Greece since 1973, at the American School’s excavations at Ancient Corinth, the Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea, Kommos on Crete and since 1981 has been involved in several projects in the Nemea region.  He is currently the Director of the Nemea Valley Archaeological Project.

The annual W.H. Allen Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Classical Association of Victoria and Ormond College, in honour of Barney Allen, the first Secretary of the Classical Association of Victoria (1912 onwards) and Vice-Master of Ormond College from 1915-1943.  The event will begin with the awarding of the annual Alexander Leeper Prize for the highest-achieving undergraduate Classics honours student in the state of Victoria.  Alexander Leeper in 1876 became the first Warden of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne and in 1912 became the first President of the Classical Association of Victoria.

For catering purposes, PLEASE RSVP to by 6 September if you wish to attend the pre-lecture drinks.